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Treasury Undersecretary Discusses GSE Recapitalization

Speaking before an audience at the National Housing Conference Annual Policy Symposium in Washington, D.C., Mary Miller, the Department of the Treasury's undersecretary for domestic finance, painted a grim picture of housing finance as it stands, noting any perceived health at the GSEs has been the result of circumstances that wouldn't be matched in the private market.

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Survey: Young Buyers Driven Off By Down Payment Fears

A lot of first-time homebuyers overestimate the amount of money they need for a down payment, and that might be holding them back, says Freddie Mac VP Christina Boyle. In a blog post, Boyle cites a Zelman & Associates research study that found respondents, on average, believe lenders require a down payment of at least 11 to 15 percent, including a large population of people who are in their "prime homebuying years."

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Equity, Home Sales Show Promise in May Scorecard

The government released Friday its latest Housing Scorecard, once again showing cautious optimism as trends look more favorable. "May's Housing Scorecard shows that the housing market recovery is picking up after the harsh winter months," said HUD assistant secretary Katherine O'Regan. "More homeowners have positive equity, foreclosures continue their downward trend, and sales of new and existing homes are rebounding.

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Home Prices Up 0.6% in April; Annual Gains Keep Moderating

The latest Residential Price Index (RPI) report from FNC, Inc., shows home price appreciation continued in April at a monthly pace of 0.6 percent nationally, matching March's month-over-month increase. Though monthly increases picked up momentum in April, yearly returns continued to moderate for the second straight month—"a sign that the annual rate of home price appreciation has peaked," FNC said.

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Builder Sentiment Picks Up to Five-Month High

The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI), released Monday in collaboration with Wells Fargo, registered 49 this month, up from 45 in May. A value below 50 indicates more builders view market conditions as "poor" rather than "good." Despite falling one point short of the benchmark, the moderate uptick in sentiment "is a welcome sign and shows some renewed confidence in the industry," said NAHB chairman Kevin Kelly.

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Consumer Sentiment Drops in Preliminary Reading

The University of Michigan's measure of consumer sentiment dropped from 81.9 to 81.2 in June with the decline entirely spurred by a decline in the expectations index. While expectations turned slightly sour in June, the current conditions index experienced an increase from 94.5 to 95.4.

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Report: Weak Labor Market to Blame for Housing Weakness

Though employment numbers have been in recovery, in a recent blog post for the company, RealtyTrac senior staff writer Octavio Nuiry argues that there is more to unemployment than percentages, and that a hidden actor is depressing housing market growth. Specifically, what concerns Nuiry most is the huge number of people dropping out of the labor force.

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Stonebridge Ordered to Pay $30,000 for RESPA Violations

New Jersey-based Stonebridge Title Services has been ordered to pay $30,000 for allegedly offering kickbacks for business referrals, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced. "Kickbacks drive up the costs of getting a mortgage and put law-abiding companies at a disadvantage," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray with the release of the bureau's consent order.

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May Home Sales Fail to Match Rise in Inventory

A report published by Redfin's Research Center indicated that home inventory was up 9.1 percent in May. That number represents the highest number of new listings to come onto the market in the last four years. At the same time, the actual number of homes sold dropped 10 percent. The drop in actual sales surprised analysts, who had been predicting a flood of new home purchases once inventory was in greater supply.

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